"Get off the train at Tailem Bend. Get off at Tailem Bend!" Jack rubbed his eyes. Was he dreaming? The Melbourne Express was steaming across the South Australian countryside toward its Adelaide destination. As the Publishing Secretary from the Seventhday Adventist headquarters in Wahroonga, New South Wales, he had a busy program ahead of him. But again the order came, "Get off at Tailem Bend!"
Like Eli of old, he realised it must be the Lord speaking to him. "But, Lord," he said, "I don't know anyone at Tailem Bend. I have never been there."
"Get off at Tailem Bend," was the reply. Tailem Bend was a busy railway junction during the 1930s. When the express stopped there, Jack alighted and found himself standing on the station platform. The sky was aglow with the rising sun and the new day ahead of him. But what to do now? The post office seemed a likely place to start so after some breakfast, he approached the counter there. "Could you please tell me if there are any Seventh-day Adventists in this town?" he asked. "Well, yes," came the reply. "I know of one lady. Her name is Mrs Buller." On inquiring where she lived, he was told she lived in Railway Cottage Number 288. With this information, Jack set off on the mile walk. Many thoughts flitted through his mind as to what the Lord had in mind for him and he felt rather apprehensive. Finally, he was knocking on the door of the cream limestone cottage--Number 288. A young woman responded to his knocking. Jack asked if Mrs Buller was in. "Yes, sir," she replied, "she is in, but I am afraid she is very sick and not able to see anyone." Jack explained that he was a minister and had interrupted a long train journey to see this lady. With that, he was ushered in to Mrs Buller's bedside. She was surprised but pleased to see this Christian gentleman.
The sick woman apologised that is was difficult for her to speak. She was stricken with a bad attack of pleurisy and nothing seemed to bring any relief. She had her railway-employed husband and three children to care for so a neighbour, Sally, has been helping her. But Mrs Buller petitioned her heavenly Father to help her, if it was His will.
Jack now realised his mission. Going to the kitchen, he showed Sally how to prepare hot fomentations for the sick lady. There was always plenty of boiling water in the copper kettles on the stove and towels in the linen cupboard. Sally soon started some heathrestoring remedies.
After Jack had committed his new, isolated Adventist friend to the care of the Master Physician, he left. Jack smiled as he continued his journey, amazed and thankful for the way the Lord had used him in answer to His servant's prayer.
Mrs Dulcie Buller--my mother--was well known in the neighbourhood for her kindness and hospitality. She let her light shine in many ways. No-one was ever turned away. Wages were low during the Depression but she cheerfully helped anyone in need.
J R Kent was later ordained, joining his four ministerial brothers. He continued with the work he loved--the literature ministry and collecting for missions. But he never forgot how the Lord had spoken to him on the train to Adelaide.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. 1 Peter 3:12.
Olive Josephs is the wife of retired minister Pastor Harold Josephs and attends Nunawading church, Victoria.